The Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Godwin Emefiele, on Thursday said the apex bank decided to restrict foreign exchange for the importation of cassava products because over $600m which the country spent annually importing cassava derivatives was not sustainable.
He said this during a meeting with governors of cassava producing states, which was held at the headquarters of the apex bank in Abuja.
In attendance were the Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi; Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu; and Deputy Governor of Ogun State, Mrs Noimot Salako-Oyedele.
The meeting also witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Nigeria Cassava Growers Association and Large Scale Cassava Processors.
Emefiele said the apex bank decided to include cassava on the foreign exchange exclusion list to encourage farmers, boost jobs creation and increase output.
He gave other challenges hindering the growth of the sector as lack of good quality farm inputs, non-utilisation of available cultivable land, manual system of production, inadequate funding for smallholder outgrower schemes and low processing capacity.
The CBN governor said there was huge untapped potential that existed in cassava value chain that needed to be harnessed for the development of the economy.
He put the demand for high quality cassava flour in bread, biscuits and snacks at about 500,000 tonnes annually while supply is below 15,000 tonnes.